Beautiful Day

It was a fantastic day to be outside.  I hitched up the trailer and drove upriver past Mascoma Lake to Enfield, where I forked up a load of horse manure that a woman I know was looking to get rid of.  I guess it’s the nature of the season that it was near to 80 degrees out and yet the lake was still mostly covered with ice.  I trundled the dung home and spread it on the garden, ending up with a layer about an inch thick, with a few shovelfuls set aside to incorporate into hills for the squash.  Tomorrow after music class I’m going to borrow a big TroyBilt from a guy in the class and turn in the leaves, lime, horse manure, and wood ash I’ve spread on the garden since fall.  My folks also gave me a couple buckets full of composted chicken manure for my birthday, and these will end up in there at some point this summer, along with last year’s compost pile.  Once the garden is tilled, I’ll put up a chunk of fence and start the peas, along with kale, chard, and similar hardy stuff.  It’s tempting to bust up more lawn while I’m about it, maybe put in a big potato patch or something.

As the sun was setting I walked down the hill, across the river, and around the Lebanon green, where a strong warm southerly breeze was blowing.  On my way back up the hill the full moon rose over the red bricks and white clapboards of the town.  The river has receded a bit from the torrent of the last few days, but it still thundered through the rapids that once powered Lebanon’s mills.  There’s something remarkably satisfying about these long-term projects, like fiddle, orcharding, cidermaking, and gardening – they have their own slow rhythm, with a modest increment of skill added each season along with new challenges and possibilities for the coming year.  It becomes natural to think of life as a vastly interconnected web of cyclic processes and traditions passing gently through time, with my own life as a small but integral element.  I wonder if the joy I find in this sort of life is a function of the way I grew up, or whether it has more universal appeal that will resurface in a world of energy constraint and economic contraction.

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